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28 May 2020

The importance of storytelling within recruitment

Storytelling is becoming an increasingly important concept within recruitment. Candidates are looking for personality and want to bond with an organization. By bringing your organization’s story out in an original way, you appeal to target groups that may never have heard of you. Storytelling contributes to the construction of your employer brand. However you look at it, everyone likes good stories. Just think of David Attenborough and his wonderful documentaries. How would one experience his documentaries without sir Attenborough’s stories?

The basic principles of storytelling

Storytelling can help you make your company an attractive and powerful brand. Also known as your Employer Brand. The story of your company that you share everywhere: on your website, social media channels, but also in your vacancies. But how do you apply storytelling within your recruitment activities?

The purpose of storytelling within recruitment is to convey your story and thereby get connected with new candidates. Therefore, use the basic principles of storytelling.

Personal connection

We all know that personal involvement is essential in recruitment, this applies to both agency recruitment and corporate recruitment. Job seekers want to be able to relate to the mission and vision of your organization, so look for the story of your company. You can find this in objectives, corporate culture or even official documents, such as a mission statement or vision statement.

In addition to the story of your organization, it is important that you map out the target group. What does your ideal candidate find important in a job and employer? These two elements form the base of your story.

Time to analyze your current vacancy texts. Put yourself in the role of the jobseeker. Is your vacancy text attractive enough? Remember that a vacancy text does not consist of a list of wishes and requirements. The text should be attractive and persuade and fascinate your potential candidate. Try to use vacancy texts as stories in which you take readers into their new job. All aspects can be discussed here: the activities, the impact of the role within the organization, interesting things that happen… These kinds of characteristics are essential when choosing a new position. One thing remains important: pay attention to the interests of your target group. Are these, for example, collaboration, career opportunities, creative space or rewards? Then highlight these elements in your vacancy text.

For example, the Dutch organization Spielwork creates vacancies based on interviews with employees in the position. This gives the candidate a realistic view of the job. By providing insight into the agenda appropriate to the position, the potential candidate can immediately see whether the associated activities match his or her wishes and abilities.

Tension & conflict

Every good story contains a conflict. Conflicts give action to the story, create tension and hold the attention of the reader. Moreover, this triggers the reader to think how he or she would act in this situation. By adding elements of tension or conflict to your texts, you tempt the reader to take on the role of the new employee. An anecdote of employees in which they deal with a problem or difficult situation is the ideal ingredient for this piece of storytelling.


Characters or personalities give a face to your story. Characters ensure that readers identify with the story. Without characters, a story is not interesting and one cannot relate.

Therefore, make use of a character in your own storytelling. You give the function a face, as it were, by showing real people. Just think of large companies, like Coca Cola. “Every contact point with a customer should tell an emotional story. Coke must focus on stories that show a commitment to making the world a better place.” Said Jonathan Mildenhall, Vice President, Global Advertising Strategy and Creative Excellence at The Coca-Cola Company. The common thread in the stories of Coca-Cola, is the “Coca-Cola happiness”, which matches all brands of the company.

Now, these big companies have a large budget available for storytelling and campaigns. But you can also achieve this effect with a smaller approach. Create original content, such as an interview with involved colleagues, satisfied customers or even the founders of your organization. Share these stories not only in your vacancy text or on your website, but also on your social media channels.


The first 3 elements give body to your story, but the atmosphere and setting around it complete the picture. By sketching a picture of the atmosphere in the office, you give the reader the feeling that they are already part of your organization. In this way, the candidate can already taste a bit of the atmosphere in advance and assess whether there is a match with your organization.

Through employee advocacy, your employees are used to convey the message of your organization in an authentic and original way. The ideal way to give a good impression of the organization. With employee advocacy you can increase your reach by turning your employees into ambassadors and social influencers. Employee messages reach more organic results on average than messages shared by the company itself and can lead to up to 8 times more engagement.

Get started!

A strong Employer Brand is fed with storytelling. Fascinating and authentic stories that connect your potential candidates to your organization. Powerful stories stand out among the often many vacancies on the labor market.

So immerse yourself in the stories of employees and organizations and turn this into content. This way you not only get to know your own colleagues well, but you also recruit new colleagues! Grab your pen and paper or laptop and get started. What are you waiting for?